Changing the World 1: Vision of the Future

This blog post is in response to Chapter 1 (“What is Your Vision of the Future?”) in Shakti Gawain’s book, The Path of Transformation.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead

In the opening chapter of Gawain’s book, The Path of Transformation, she asks her readers point-blank: “What is your vision of the future? How do you feel about it?

In many ways, my vision of the future is nothing more than staying in balance in the present. For if I am able to accomplish that, my future will be as fulfilling as my present.

The question then becomes: What is my vision of the present?

My word of the year is Querencia — my wanting place or home — and in that place I become invincible. But what are the characteristics of me that I want to be invincible?

That is the question that has dogged me all these years. I believe that the same things that make me strong — sensitivity toward others, compassion, a strong belief in all things and their possibilities — also make me vulnerable. It is very hard to shift gears and address my weaknesses when I need to be open to offer my strengths.

I was faced with this situation earlier today. A friend approached me about a serious issue he was facing, and I felt a great deal of empathy for him and his situation. After I offered my thoughts and we both moved on (we were both running late for other appointments), I found my entire mood being shifted to the negative. I was angry that he was in such a situation, and that anger started to permeate everything I was doing.

I recognized the emotional response, and (after a struggle) I was able to let it go soon thereafter and remain in the present once again. Staying stuck in the past on that emotion was just not healthy, and I may have even sacrificed a chance or two to be present for others who might have had to share some concerns.

Earlier today on Facebook, I posted the following statement: “Living for tomorrow distracts me from what I need to do today. Seek beauty in THIS moment, and tomorrow will take care of itself. . .” After I posted it, several friends commented, both publicly and privately, that it is easier said than done. I couldn’t agree more, especially with the type of day that I have had.

We need to do our best to practice balance on an ongoing basis, where a blend of movement and stillness becomes a harmonic experience during each passing moment.

The truth is, my vision of the present is simply this: I need to be aware of my strengths and my weaknesses in the moment. Like the harmony created by the simultaneous existence of movement and stillness, I need to recognize the ebb and flow of my strengths and weaknesses to create a similar harmony.

Thus, if I take care of my today, if I take care of this moment, I also take care of my future.

So, once again I offer the following words to everyone. Let them serve as a mantra in your daily efforts to live earnestly in the moment: Living for tomorrow distracts me from what I need to do today. Seek beauty in this moment, and tomorrow will take care of itself.

Rus VanWestervelt is a writer, photographer, owner of Ravenwater Press, and Teacher-Consultant with the National Writing Project. He is the founder and editor of Maryland Voices, a creative nonfiction journal for high school writers and educators. Rus has published hundreds of articles locally and nationally, and nearly all of them relate to writing and living an inspired life. His latest work of fiction, Cold Rock, was released December 9, 2011 and can be ordered at Amazon or at For more information about Rus and his work with writers, you can contact him at rusvw13 (@)

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